As I previously stated in an earlier blog – I am a “cynical romantic.”
Cynical in that I don’t believe in ‘love at first sight’ or that there’s only one person in the world who is your soulmate.
Romantic in that I do enjoy a good emotional cry when characters from my favorite books or movies…or TV shows – experience the rush of falling in love, the miscommunication that provides so many “feels,” that finally culminates in their “happily ever after.”
I think love is a really silly thing. It doesn’t follow any set of rules and the more you fight against it, the more you lose. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s the last great universal mystery – the mystery of two hearts connecting… Attachments by Rainbow Rowell is a book about connections. Attachments. Attachments between strangers, family, lovers, friends, ex-friends, co-workers…
Attachments follows Lincoln, a newspaper’s “Internet security officer” (basically a job where he has to read emails of the newspaper’s employees) and Beth, the newspaper’s movie reviewer.
Lincoln doesn’t originally mean to continue to read Beth’s deeply personal emails to her friend, Jennifer, an editor at the same newspaper. Gradually his fascination with their lives takes over and he finds himself in a morally ethical tangle… he can’t stop looking forward to Beth’s emails.
Now….this could be seen as stalking and ripe for a Lifetime movie – or it could be the beginning of an engaging, funny, touching and rather lovely love story. Thankfully, Rowell has made it the latter.
The story doesn’t just revolve around Lincoln and Beth and their inevitable “meet-cute” which is rather late in the book. Instead the story goes deeper into the “attachments” that both characters have with the people around them.
Lincoln is a lonely IT guy whose relationships include his Mother (who he lives with), his sister, Eve (who wants him to move out), and his D&D group who he sees once a week. As the story progresses Lincoln’s relationships do too – he begins to come out of his shell and even befriends the vending machine lady, Doris, who is adorable.
Love. Purpose. Those are the things that you can’t plan for. Those are the things that happen. And if they don’t happen? Do you spend your whole life pining for them? Waiting to be happy?
Beth is a movie buff; and whose relationships include her family of parents and many sisters, her best friend Jennifer, and her boyfriend, Chris, who plays guitar in a band…and doesn’t pay his share of the rent. I found it interesting that Beth could point out the flaws in everyone else’s relationships but fails to do so in her own – as the story moves along Beth learns to be honest with her own relationships.
There’s a huge supporting cast of characters and it would take forever to write about each one and how their ‘attachment’ affects – or has affected – the way Lincoln and Beth take on the world. It’s just beautifully done. Rowell does an amazing job of weaving a web of relationships; each character strand written in a way that is realistic to the point of “I know someone like that!” while adding to the story, and still connecting them to the central relationship which is between Lincoln and Beth.
Each chapter alternates between email messages between Beth and Jennifer, and Lincoln’s point of view narrative. I enjoyed reading both styles since Beth and Jennifer’s friendship can be seen through their messages that range from pregnancy scares to family issues – and Lincoln’s narrative which unwraps him like an onion – layer by layer.
Rainbow Rowell is an author whose works are so diverse – from Landline to Carry On to Eleanor and Park – but whose writing style consistently rewards the reader with a story so real and fantastic – be it magical or contemporary. I strongly recommend anyone to go check out a Rainbow Rowell book and see which style you like best – for me it’s all about the romance of Baz and Simon in Carry On, and Eleanor and Park (probably because Park is the most precious Korean boy ever!).
I believe anything written by Rainbow Rowell is rereadable.